Au Pair Program Details
Au Pair Program Length
You will become part of an American family for a minimum of 1 year. All applicants should be prepared to spend a full year in the US with a host family. Initial agreements for shorter than twelve months are not possible under the J-1 program. Au pairs can extend their time in the US for an additional 6, 9 or 12 months following the successful completion of their initial agreement and all program requirements. This extension can be with a new host family or with the same host family.
Department of State Requirements
In order to become an au pair, you must meet the U.S. Department of State Requirements to be qualified for the au pair program. The requirements and regulations are the same for all Au Pair Programs in the United States. Agent Au Pair supports program participation from all nations, but obtaining a J-1 Visa may be challenging in some countries.
In accordance with U.S. Department of State regulations for au pairs on the J-1 visa program, au pairs can work up to 45 hours a week, no more than 10 hours a day. Au pairs are also legally entitled to 1.5 free days per week, as well as one free weekend a month.
*Though official English language test scores are not required as part of the application process, submitting test results would be beneficial. Please see our score conversion chart.
Au Pair Duties
Au pair duties are related to childcare. This means that the au pair can walk or drive the children to school, straighten their rooms, do their laundry, prepare meals, undertake development activities such as playing games, drawing or helping with homework. An au pair is considered a member of the family such as a big sister or brother and is not permitted to do heavy housework, gardening or the parent’s laundry.
Caring for Infants
Agent Au Pair has infant-care au pairs who care for babies up to 24 months. Infant-care au pairs must have 200 hours of caring for children under the age of 2 prior to arriving in the US to qualify for this program. Au pairs are not permitted to care for children less than 3 months old. Individuals who do not qualify or is not interested in caring for children under 2, must have 6 months of childcare experience qualify for the au pair program. This experience can include babysitting, working in a school or day care, or prior au pair/nanny experience.
Agent Au Pair asks for verifiable references from families whose children you have cared for and can attest to the thoughtfulness and quality of your childcare skills. Reference cannot be from family members. References need to list the ages of the children cared for, the dates cared for and the duties performed during these experiences.
Au Pair Training School
Upon arriving to the U.S. to spend a year with your new host family, you will first attend Agent Au Pair’s Au Pair Training School and Program Orientation in New Haven, Connecticut. You will have class training that includes lectures, child development instruction, safety with children, videos, tests, and hands-on projects. Classes are lead by a team of child development experts who have extensive experience teaching and working with children who teach in a learning and caring capacity. It will also allow you to meet other au pairs, and socialize so that you can keep in touch and get together during the year.
As part of J-1 visa program, au pairs are required to complete at least six semester credits (or least 72 classroom hours) at an accredited post-secondary institution. The host family will provide up to $500 toward completion of this requirement.
You can take ESL courses to improve your English skills, test preparation classes to help prepare you for further education, enrichment courses to learn more about American culture and more! Be sure to check with your host family and Local Coordinator before enrolling to ensure that your selected program matches with program requirements and does not conflict with other responsibilities.
Please see our state-specific resources to learn more about available education programs in your area